Gippsland’s Bush nursing funding furore

Gippsland Bush Nursing Centres are struggling due to inadequate state government funding.

The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath said Gippsland’s bush nursing centres are being forced to fundraise to keep the doors open.

“The recent bushfire crisis in East Gippsland has further exposed Labor’s inadequate heath care funding in our small rural communities.

“In the case of Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre, an additional $100,000 is required annually to meet service demand and a minimum of $30,000 to cover the increased workload following months of bushfires.

“During the bushfires our hardworking bush nurses were seriously stretched and basic medical items rapidly consumed in treating burns, injuries and smoke-related conditions.”

Victorian bush nursing centres are funded only for weekdays; however, their services are utilised 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Ms Bath said she is concerned for the health outcomes of rural people as well as the ongoing mental strain on our dedicated nurses, particularly in the high country.

“Rural health care is simply not a nine to five business.

“Bush nurses are our valued palliative carers, first responders and mental health practitioners all-in-one and the Andrews Labor Government funding model should reflect this.”

Ms Bath said Minister for Health, Jenny Mikakos’ recent claims of increased funding for bush nursing centres was all smoke and mirrors.

“The state contributes a pitiful amount to bush nursing centres, and it needs to do more.”

The Nationals Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull said bush nursing centres deliver critical health services across East Gippsland’s rural and remote communities.

“Good health and access to health care is one of the foundations of a community and it should be delivered regardless of where you live.”

Sue Carroll, Nurse Manager Swifts Creek Bush Nursing Centre said the lack of appropriate health funding is a constant stress.

“Health care should be delivered on a community’s individual needs and not through a one size fits all funding model.”

In State Parliament Ms Bath called on Minister Mikakos to visit East Gippsland bush nursing centres and meet with their staff to discuss their needs.

“The Nationals and Liberals across the state have raised this issue in parliament on multiple occasions but it’s falling on deaf ears,” Ms Bath said.